Our Graduates

June 2022

Garrett Hutson.jpgRemarkable alumnus, scholar, and all around nice person, Dr. Garrett Hutson has been a dedicated professor in the Dept. of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University in Ontario for a long time now. Garrett is also a team member of the campus Environmental Sustainability Research Centre that collaborates with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Niagara Parks Commission, and the Ontario Climbing Access Coalition. No surprise there - he is one of those unique individuals who keeps taking on more, especially if it has to do with his passions for eco-psychology and developing people-place relationships. He has been a co-editor of the peer-reviewed Research in Outdoor Education, and is currently serving as a co-guest editor for the Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership. He is a past instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School and continues to contribute to their environmental curriculum. You are setting an admirable example for the rest of us, Garrett! 

April 2022

Iggy Perillo 2.jpgMeet the always effervescent Iggy Perillo, a "leadership educator who is passionate about making the world a better place".  Iggy is the founder of WSL Leadership and creator/facilitator of all things leadership. Past clients have described Iggy as "approachable, transparent, laid-back yet informative, friendly, welcoming, and challenging 'in the most interesting way' ". WSL Leadership's services include redirection work with teams, skillbuilding for individuals, workshops, podcasts, articles, newsletters, and Mastermind School (look it up : )  WSL (at wslleadership.com) also offers a helpful free guide Dealing with Bozos and Bullies that provides a checklist of emotionally-intelligent conflict management strategies and actions. We're proud to have you as one of our alum, Iggy!

January 2022

Abby Oxborough 2.png

Here's introducing the multi-talented Abby Oxborough, who really needs no introduction. Abby is a recent ExEd graduate who came into the program with years of experience facilitating retreats in leadership development, team building, and strategic planning at her family's historic Sugar Lake Lodge in northern Minnesota. Abby is one of only two MSU students chosen to speak at the very first TEDxMNSU event that will take place in March 2022. On top of all that, she was recently elected as a board member for the Association of Experiential Education, an organization that has a long relationship with our MS in Experiential Education program. To infinity and beyond, Abby! 


October 2021

Stars in Sky - Haylee and Jason.pngStars in Sky - page 1.pngIn August 2016, the MS in Experiential Education program received the devastating news that one of our recent graduates, Rob, had been in a fatal car accident out east. Expressions of deep grief and shock spread among our students, faculty and all who had worked with Rob across campus during his time in graduate studies at MSU. He was known as a compassionate, curious, devoted, thoughtful, and gentle person, experiential educator, and outdoor leader. Sometimes, out of the darkness comes a healing light, as is happening right now with the upcoming release of “Stars in the Sky”, a children’s book inspired by Rob’s flowing spirit intended to help young readers (adults, too) “grapple with the weight of unanswerable questions and with the beauty that shines through sorrow”. This book was created out of the unwavering commitment and compassion of author Haylee Blauert and illustrator Jason Jaspersen. Not only are Haylee and Jason amazingly talented, but they, too, are graduates from our MS in Experiential Education program and were friends and classmates of Rob. Haylee is an early childhood educator who, like Rob, holds a deep affinity for nature. Jason is an acclaimed artist and faculty member in studio arts at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato. Together, they spoke about their collaboration on the book project at a public reception on October 7 at Bethany. The illustrations will be on display in the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center there through the month of October. Information on purchasing Stars in the Sky will be forthcoming in January. Experience a motion tour of this profound and beautiful book on Jason’s channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiY7DXQy2-Q  Thank you, Haylee and Jason, for all you have given of yourselves to bring this creative work of your hearts to the world.


September 2021

Jen StanchfieldExperiential Tools resources for Teaching and group facilitation logoAmong our dedicated alum who are out there making the world a better place is the amazing Jennifer Stanchfield, founder of Experiential Tools. She has worked extensively with all ages as a clinician, teacher, adventure educator, and in professional training, adult education, and organizational team-building. Jen inspires and spreads experiential education and brain-based learning around the globe through the "extensive repertoire of experiential activities, tools, and strategies she brings to her engaging and informative workshops, books, and teaching resources". Many free activities and ideas are available by signing up for the ET newsletter or the Inspired Educator Blog. We're cheering you on to keep doing what you do, Jen!

Experiential Tools

June 2021

Monica IhrkeLinoleum relief print titled "Building Bridges and Communit" by Monica IhrkeMonica Ihrke is an artist and printmaker extraordinaire, currently based in Duluth, Minnesota, who we are so proud to have as one of our graduates. Monica creates linoleum relief prints of "beloved and vulnerable natural and industrial spaces". Her latest project, Building Bridges and Community, features scenes of Duluth bridges printed on postcards to send to people for building or rebuilding relationships that have been impacted by differences.

Learn more about this project, Monica and her other works, both striking and glorious.

Monica Ihrke Prints

April 2021

Megan TaylorMeet ExEd alum Megan "Belay" Taylor who encourages us all to BE Outside, BE Simple, BE In Pursuit, BE Fortified, BE Happy, and BE You! Megan is the founder and owner of Belay Expeditions that specializes in guiding mountaineering, backpacking, and bikepacking trips around the U.S. for all ages. Megan personally exceeds 21,000 miles hiking and biking and has summited over 70 of our nation's tallest peaks. B.E. also has an admirable 4 Change initiative that provides outdoor adventurous experiences for youth in foster care. The B.E. website says, "Belay’s love for the Great Outdoors combined with her ascetic beliefs and intensive study on depression and happiness create for a unique minimalist and mindful approach to long-distance outdoor journeys." Check out the B.E. website to find out where they are off to next!

Belay Expeditions

December 2020

Dr. Carolyn GolzDr. Carolyn Golz graduated from our MS in Experiential Education program some years ago and has been busy doing amazing things ever since. She is the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the University of New Orleans where she provides "vision and leadership for the student affairs units that include career services, counseling services, disability services, student health services, student leadership, testing services, and TRIO programs" (UNO, Dec. 2020). Whew! Carolyn has received outstanding service awards from various agencies and was recently recognized as "One to Watch in Education" by New Orleans City Business. Way to go, Dr. Golz!

September 2020

Ryan PenneauThe successes of our MS in ExEd graduates just keep shining! Alum Ryan Penneau, has been inspiring hundreds of corporate and college groups in leadership and team development for over 12 years through his company, The Penneau Training Group, and its sister program, Take College Back. Their curriculum focuses on developing the HEART of a Leader (Humility, Energy & Execution, Awareness, Relationships, and Trust). Penneau Training Group is committed to "pull[ing] the very best we can out of individuals by maintaining a standard of curriculum that engages each individual to get out of their head and into their heart, to give their all to their goals, and to leave interactions better than how they found them". Watch an engaging 4 minute video from Take College Back. We are proud to have you in our ExEd family, Ryan!

Ryan Penneau

June 2020

An image clip from an article posted in the College's PULSE magazine of the commencement speech 2020 by Elliott FloydElliott Floyd is a May 2020 graduate from our MS in Experiential Education program and was selected early in the semester to deliver a speech for the graduate hooding ceremony for our College of Allied Health & Nursing. The Spring 2020 commencement ceremonies had to be canceled due to the pandemic, and so Elliott's speech has been published in the College's PULSE magazine this month. You can read his uplifting message below. Your words are a great reflection on our program, Elliott! We are proud of all that you've accomplished and excited about what is yet to come for you. Congratulations!

Commencement Speech 2020

April 2020

Jason LuthyJason Luthy, WEMT, FAWM, is one of our stellar graduates from the MS in Experiential Education program and is the owner and founder of Longleaf Wilderness Medicine in Idaho. He recently published this timely article about adhering to healthy outdoor distancing during COVID-19 for the Spokesman-Review, March 19, 2020. Your expertise is helpful and needed, Jason!

Responsible Outdoor Recreation During a Pandemic

February 2020

TEDx Minnesota State Mankato list of speakers for April 17 2020TEDx is coming to Minnesota State, Mankato, for the first time on April 17, 2020, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm CST. The list of selected presenters just got announced and two of our current MS in Experiential Education students have been chosen as TEDx speakers! Our student presenters will be Abigayle Oxborough speaking on Re-evaluating Customer Service, and Elliott Floyd speaking on Nature in our Digital Age. Once again, we are blown away by the talents and leadership of our students. Congratulations Abby and Elliott!

January 2020

The MS in Experiential Education program acknowledges and embraces multiple ways of knowing and learning that extend into a wide spectrum of formal and non-formal educational settings. Still, we have roots in and continuing connections to adventure outdoor learning and many of our students have been employed over the years with NOLS. The Fall 2019 issue of its alumni publication, The Leader, showcases two of our alum who are also NOLS instructors, Graham Prather and Dr. Andrew Bobilya. Graham received the 2019 Wilderness Medicine Instructor Award, having taught over 62 courses for NOLS. Andrew was featured in an article titled Alumni in Action: Taking the Classroom Outdoors. Way to go, Graham and Andrew! We are proud of your accomplishments!